Oct 022013
 

Rats RankingsAbout midway through the third quarter on Monday night, I just couldn’t help myself anymore. So I texted Country Preacher the now famous quote from Dennis Green, “They are who we thought they were,” signaling the demise of the Miami Dolphins in their road showdown with the New Orleans Saints. The truth is that the Dolphins are a much improved team over last season, but they still aren’t quite ready for prime time. Their linebackers and secondary got torched by Drew Brees, and the offensive line gave Ryan Tannehill another difficult day at the office as the Saints trounced the Fins 38-17.

Week Five still provides us with a host of unbeaten teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs, who throttled the Giants, aggravating an already tense situation in the Big Apple. Giants’s safety Antrel Rolle tried to boost morale by predicting that the G-Men would win their final twelve games, but it’s not a convincing act; the Giants aren’t just making mental mistakes. Instead, they are getting physically dominated, which is something that can’t be corrected. The plight of the Giants is being mirrored in Pittsburgh, where the proud Steelers have tumbled into anonymity in their own city now that the Pirates have made the post-season for the first time since Bill Cowher started as Head Coach of the Steelers. Unlike the Giants however, the Steelers seem to be doing themselves in, and the team appears entirely capable of coming out of their funk, even if they lack an elite roster.

As for my Patriots, they handled the Falcons on Sunday night, but lost Vince Wilfork for the season. The offense is showing signs of life while awaiting the return of both Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski, but they are winning on defense, which is a wonderful thing for a Patriots’ fan to be able to see. Wilfork’s loss places pressure on the defensive line, but as always it is simply “next man up.” The Pats face the unpredictable Bengals this Sunday in Cincinnati.

With the Dolphins’ loss, the Preacher has come back into the fold and is no longer the outlier. Here are your Week Five Power Rankings.

1. Denver Broncos (4-0, 6 first place votes) [1] – Is there a record (or a defense) that Peyton Manning hasn’t broken?
2. Seattle Seahawks (4-0) [2] – They benefited from a Texans’ collapse, but 4-0 is 4-0.
3. New Orleans Saints (4-0) [4] – Brees to Graham should be trademarked.
4. New England Patriots (4-0) [5] – Coaching and defense still wins championships.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) [7] – The Preacher’s not a believer yet, but the rest of us are.
6. Indianapolis Colts (3-1) [12] – Luck + Richardson = Dangerous.
7. Miami Dolphins (3-1) [6] – Give them a pass for running into a buzzsaw, but no so sure that was an aberration.
8. San Francisco 49ers (2-2) [8] – Still poised for big noise in January.
9. Detroit Lions (3-1) [14] – Is it just irony that the Lions are calling the Bears a bunch of thugs?
11. Tennessee Titans (3-1) [16] – This may be the peak with Locker on the shelf.
12. Houston Texans (2-2) [9] – At least Matt Schaub still looks great in his letterman jacket.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) [10] – Which team shows up to face the Patriots?
14. Green Bay Packers (1-2) [14] – Potentially dangerous, but we think flawed.
15. Atlanta Falcons (1-3) [11] – They may be better than their record, but they are still a 1-3 team.
16. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) [15] – Just like the Bengals, but with less potential upside.
17. San Diego Chargers (2-2) [22] – This sleeper team is now on our radar.
18. Carolina Panthers (1-2) [19] – Will the early bye help propel them back into the race?
19. Baltimore Ravens (2-2) [17] – Just another .500 team.
20. Cleveland Browns (2-2) [27] – Have they finally found a quarterback? Hoyer projects confidence for a surprising rise.
21. Arizona Cardinals (2-2) [23] – Any given Sunday.
22. Minnesota Vikings (1-3) [25] – Hopefully they don’t have to wait four more weeks for a second win.
23. Buffalo Bills (2-2) [24] – Solid win over the Ravens; this team is showing improvement.
24. St. Louis Rams (1-3) [18] – A visit from the Jags offers the promise of a Week Five wake-up call.
25. New York Jets (2-2) [20] – New quarterback, new butt fumble.
26. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) [21] – Still a few players away from being competitive.
27. New York Giants (0-4) [26] – First a Yankees’ collapse, and now this. Boston fans are loving this.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4) [28] – Who knew Pittsburgh was a baseball town?
29. Washington Redskins (1-3) [31] – Might still win the division, thanks to the Cowboys’ consistent mediocrity.
30. Oakland Raiders (1-3) [30] – This is actually a decent team that will surprise some people.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4) [29] – Once again the Bucs pulls defeat from the jaws of victory.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4) [32] – Hopeless.

Jun 202013
 

Mike Wallace12. Miami Dolphins
Head Coach: Joe Philbin
2012 Record: 7-9
2012 Offense: 288 points scored, 27th in points, 27th in yards (26th passing, 17th rushing)
2012 Defense: 317 points allowed, 7th in points, 21st in yards (27th passing, 13th rushing)

Key Additions
WR Mike Wallace, LB Dannell Ellerbe, LB Philip Wheeler, TE Dustin Keller, WR Brandon Gibson, CB Brent Grimes, T Tyson Clabo, DT Vaughn Martin, DE Dion Jordan, CB Jamal Taylor, OL Dallas Thomas, CB Will Davis

Key Losses
RB Reggie Bush, T Jake Long, LB Karlos Dansby, LB Kevin Burnett, TE Anthony Fasano, CB Sean Smith, WR Davone Bess, DT Tony McDaniel, K Nate Kaeding

Why 2013 will be better
Ryan Tannehill is a promising young quarterback who might well break out this season with weapons like Wallace, Gibson, and Keller added to his arsenal. The offensive line is solid in its depth, though Jonathan Martin has struggled at left tackle. Clabo does offer an upgrade on the right side. Cameron Wake is an elite pass rushing talent, while Dion Jordan has the talent to be a disruptive force on the opposite side. Jordan’s addition to the lineup allows Jared Odrick to move inside along with Randy Starks and Paul Soliai, providing the Dolphins with an excellent defensive line. Brent Grimes was a solid addition to the secondary after returning from a torn ACL in 2012, and will likely start opposite Richard Marshall, though rookie Jamal Taylor looks equipped to push Marshall for the spot. There is little doubt that the Dolphins’ dreadful pass defense will be better in 2013.

Why 2013 will be worse
Tannehill has tons of potential, but was also very inconsistent last season. Lamar Miller enters 2013 as the top running back. While the second year pro has a potential high upside, he saw limited carries in his rookie season and is an untested; at least in the short term he appears to be a downgrade from Reggie Bush. Daniel Thomas can be a good complement to Miller, but only if he can stay healthy. While Ellerbe and Wheeler are touted as an upgrade to the linebacker corps, Ellerbe was a one-trick pony with the Ravens, and the Fins appear to have overpaid for a player who may not have the three down talent that they think he does. Wheeler appears to be the real deal, but doesn’t appear to be an upgrade over Burnett. The Dolphins got younger at linebacker, not necessarily better.

Outlook
Tannehill was sacked 35 times last season, and needs better play from his offensive line to be able to play with the new toys that he has. Tannehill finished his rookie system ranked 27th in the league, but showed numerous flashes of his potential last season. One thing the Dolphins lack is quality depth at offensive skill positions, so health is going to be critical to the team’s offensive success. On defense, the Dolphins need a pass defense to complement a solid run defense, and the upgrades appear to sufficient to accomplish this. At first blush, the worst case for 2013 would appear to be a repeat seven win performance, and the team appears capable of winning as many ten games as they challenge for a playoff spot and seek to depose the Patriots from the AFC East throne.

Jan 052013
 

Rat's Awards ImageThis year’s crop of offensive rookies promise to reshape the futures of franchises in Indianapolis, Washington, Seattle, Cleveland, and Tampa Bay as we move toward the 2013 season. While Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were expected to compete for this award, it was the surprising Russell Wilson who took away a near certain job from Matt Flynn in Seattle and put the Seahawks on the map.

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
The nominees for this award included Luck, Griffin, Wilson, Matt Kalil (MIN), Doug Martin (TB), Alfred Morris (WAS), Trent Richardson (CLE), Ryan Tannehill (MIA) and Brandon Weeden (CLE).

3rd Place – Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts didn’t suffer much in the transition from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck. In fact, other than a lost 2011 season and the end of the Colts’ reign in the AFC South, there seems to be little difference in the overall performance of the team, despite a rookie quarterback, a lack of a running game (still) and a change in defensive philosophy. Luck finished the season with 4374 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions while leading the Colts to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. Only Luck’s proclivity for throwing interceptions prevented him from placing higher, but Luck is clearly set as the next franchise quarterback in Indianapolis.

2nd Place – Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Raise your hand if you saw this one coming. The 75th pick in the 2012 draft was expected to hold the clipboard for Matt Flynn, and instead displaced Flynn and led the Seahawks to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. As the year has gone on and the coaching staff has grown more comfortable with Wilson, he has become an even greater threat, running the Read Option offense and demonstrating that he is a threat to run or throw. Wilson finished the regular season with 3118 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 489 rushing yards, and four rushing touchdowns.

Robert-Griffin-III1WINNER – Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Talk about a game changer. Robert Griffin III turned around a long-suffering franchise in the nation’s capital, leading the Redskins to a 10-6 record and the first playoff game since 2006. Although Griffin had plenty of help from Alfred Morris, it was his double barreled threat of running and passing that opened up defenses and allowed the Redskins to put together the top rushing attack in the league this season. When Griffin was hurt, fellow rookie Kirk Counsins proved his worth, insuring that momentum towards the playoffs wasn’t halted. But there is little debate that it was Griffin’s prowess that set this team on fire this season, and Griffin seemed to mature before our eyes on the field, learning the lessons that previous running quarterbacks have been unable to grasp. Griffin finished the season with 3,200 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, only five interceptions, and he ran for another 815 yards and seven touchdowns.

Dec 262012
 

Russell WilsonWe hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and that at least some of you get a few extra days off to relax as we head into 2013. Our Week 16 Power Rankings have the Seahawks supplanting the 49ers by virtue of the Sunday night smackdown that they laid upon them. And despite the 13-2 record of the Atlanta Falcons, they’re still not getting love here, as they are ranked fourth going into the final week of the regular season. Here is our complete set of rankings for this week:

1. Denver Broncos (12-3, W10, U) – Still not seeing them as Super Bowl bound, but all they do is win

2. Seattle Seahawks (10-5, W4, +5) – The idea of this team with a potent offense is just frightening

3. New England Patriots (11-4, W1, U) – So which Patriots team shows up for the playoffs? The one that pasted the Texans or the one that barely beat the Jaguars? Perhaps only Gronk knows…

4. Atlanta Falcons (13-2, W2, U) – There is only one question where the Falcons are concerned, and we will start getting our answers in three weeks

5. San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1, L1, -3) – Any points they got for winning in Foxboro just got wiped away in Seattle

6. Green Bay Packers (11-4, W4, U) – The offense is clicking at the right time, but will their defense stop anyone in the playoffs?

7. Houston Texans (12-3, L1, -2) – This could be the most potent team to go one and done in the playoffs

8. Indianapolis Colts (10-5, W1, +1) – Is there a better success story in the NFL this season?

9. Washington Redskins (9-6, W6, +2) – Not bad for a team written off by their own coach just six weeks ago

10. Cincinnati Bengals (9-6, W2, +1) – They don’t match up well with the Patriots, so they are hoping for the Pats to go up or down in the seedings

11. Baltimore Ravens (10-5, W1, +1) – Not so potent, and also facing a possible one and done

12. Minnesota Vikings (9-6, W3, +3) – Are the Vikings the Colts of the NFC? We’ll know in one more week…

13. New York Giants (8-7, L2, -5) – The fat lady hasn’t sung yet, but she’s warming up

14. Dallas Cowboys (8-7, L1, U) – The teasing reached a new low against the Saints

15. Chicago Bears (9-6, W1, +1) – One more chance to salvage Lovie’s job…

16. New Orleans Saints (7-8, W2, +2) – Truth be told, this team got the 2012 it deserved; can it rebound for a more successful 2013?

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8, L3, -4) – This team has some serious off-season questions to answer

18. St. Louis Rams (7-7-1, W1, +1) – The fact that this team was alive through 14 games is a testament to the coaching of Jeff Fisher

19. Miami Dolphins (7-8, W2, +2) – Ryan Tannehill is not going to be Rookie of the Year, but he may be the answer to Miami’s quarterback woes

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9, L5, -3) – Perhaps the Bucs were over-performing, but this is a disappointing ending to what was a promising first season for Greg Schiano

21. Cleveland Browns (5-10, L2, -1) – The house-cleaning will likely clear away both GM and Head Coach, but Tom Heckert has done right by the Browns

22. San Diego Chargers (6-9, W1, +1) – Philip Rivers will survive the post-season changes coming, but should he?

23. Carolina Panthers (6-9, W3, +1) – The Panthers are showing some character by finishing strong, and likely saving Ron Rivera in the process

24. Detroit Lions (4-11, L7, +2) – They moved up because they can beat the teams below them, but this team needs to fix a defense that is built on hype

25. Buffalo Bills (5-10, L3, U) – Speaking of defenses built on hype…

26. New York Jets (6-9, L2, -4) – The only way to fix what’s wrong is to blow it up; it’s that bad – of course the Jets won’t, and 2013 is already looking bleak

27. Arizona Cardinals (5-10, L1, +1) – Is Brian Hoyer the 2013 starter?

28. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11, L2, +1) – Michael Vick starts his last game as an Eagle

29. Tennessee Titans (5-10, L1, -2) – Titans on pace to give up franchise record number of points, and their offense isn’t very good either

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13, L4, U) – Gutsy performance against New England, but this is a very bad team

31. Oakland Raiders (4-11, L1, U) – Will Carson Palmer be back?

32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-13, L3, U) – Romeo Crennel won’t be…

Dec 202012
 

christmas-treeMy goodness, Widows. We are nearing the end of the road on this year’s regular NFL season. I am sure that your fan is eagerly awaiting the most exciting day of the year. The day that fills a football fan’s home with sounds of cheer and delightful smells of food from the kitchen. The day when friends and families gather to celebrate that which is truly important…FOOTBALL! Oh, wait…did you think that I meant Christmas? Sorry, Widows. I meant the Superbowl.

Just so all of you know that I have not been truly converted from Widow to Fan, I turn to one of my tried and not-so-true methods of choosing my teams for this week. Quarterbacks. In particular, which one that I would rather see in my stocking this year if Santa were giving me a cute Quarterback for Christmas. To be short, sweet and to the point so that I can get back to wrapping presents and baking cookies- I appreciate the ability to see nice looking young men when I watch the games and if you can’t be grateful during the holiday season, when can you?

This week, due to the way the holiday falls, we have no Monday night game. In fact, no more Monday night football until next fall. (pausing for any shouts of joy…). Instead we have a Saturday matchup between the Falcons and the Lions. I find Matt Ryan more aesthetically pleasing, so I choose a Falcons win.

Here’s the rest. Happy Holidays to all three of my readers!

Week 16 Widow’s Picks

Falcons over Lions (see above)

Packers over Titans (Locker is cute. Rodgers is cuter)

Panthers over Raiders (I love a Cam Newton smile)

Dolphins over Bills (Ryan Tannehill…and his wife is gorgeous too)

Bengals over Steelers (I usually don’t go for red heads like Andy Dalton, but I can’t wrap my head around finding Ben Roethlisberger the slightest bit attractive and I certainly don’t want to wake up Christmas day and find him under my tree.)

Patriots over Jaguars (Probably not a surprise, but I NEED Tom to come through for me this week and show us that is a far more than a pretty face.)

Colts over Chiefs (Two nice looking quarterbacks, chosen by likelihood of actual winner)

Cowboys over Saints (Tony Romo over Drew Brees)

Redskins over Eagles (I am a big RG III fan)

Buccaneers over Rams (Freeman over Bradford)

Ravens over Giants (I don’t find Eli attractive. At all.)

Texans over Vikings (Matt Schaub over Christian Ponder. I just prefer his looks)

Browns over Broncos (Sorry Manning…See comment above re: Eli…)

Cardinals over Bears (I like the Cardinals’ new guy)

Seahawks over 49ers (Tough call. Colin Kaepernik is a cutie. In the end, I opted for less ink.)

Chargers over Jets (I had to change this one 6 times during the season due to the Jets quarterback crisis.)

Dec 032012
 

It wasn’t a pretty win. Nor was it a particularly efficient one.

But the New England Patriots, short-handed on both lines, battled through injuries and inefficiency to grind out a 23-16 win at Sun Life Stadium.

The win clinched the AFC East for the Patriots, and gave Tom Brady a record tenth division title, passing Joe Montana. The Patriots also moved at least temporarily into the second seed in the AFC playoff race, courtesy of a superior conference record over both Baltimore and Denver who, like New England, are now 9-3.

The Patriots took advantage of a Miami miscue to get an early lead. Brandon Fields bobbled a punt after Miami’s first drive, and the Patriots forced a change of possession at the Dolphins’ 12 yard line, scoring five plays later on a two yard touchdown run by Stevan Ridley.  After a Miami punt the Patriots drove to the Miami 31, but Stephen Gostkowski missed a 49 yard field goal to the right, continuing his struggles. The Dolphins were not able to take advantage of the field position, but Brady committed a rare miscue on the next Patriots’ drive, trying to force a pass to Aaron Hernandez despite excellent coverage by Reshad Jones, who picked the pass off and gave Miami the ball at the Patriots’ 34 yard line. The Dolphins were forced to settle for a field goal, cutting the Patriots’ lead to 7-3.

New England responded, as it often does, with a classic drive going 13 plays and using 5:40 off the clock to march down the field before Brady connected with Wes Welker on a 7 yard touchdown and increased the lead to 14-3. Then, on the next possession it looked like the Patriots would put the game away early when Trevor Scott sacked Ryan Tannehill and forced the ball out of his hand, which Vince Wilfork promptly recovered at the Dolphins’ 25. But the Patriots could not take advantage of the short field and were forced to settle for a 43 yard field goal to increase the lead to 17-3.

The Dolphins then responded with an impressive drive of their own, with Tannehill navigating the Dolphins on a ten play, 80 yard drive that took up almost all of the time remaining before Tannehill ran the ball in from two yards out, cutting the halftime lead to 17-10.

The third quarter saw the game develop into a defensive struggle, as neither team could sustain drives. The Patriots got things moving at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth, putting together a 13 play drive, but again needed to settle for a field goal after a sack by Koa Misi ended a Patriots’ threat. The Dolphins struck back with a field goal to make it a one score game, but then the Patriots executed probably their most important drive of the day, using 16 plays and 7:18 while handing the ball off to Stevan Ridley ten times. The Patriots added a field goal with 1:15 left to extend the lead to 23-13. The Dolphins tacked on a late field goal, but Brandon Lloyd recovered the ensuing off-sides kick, effectively ending the game.

When the Patriots ran:
The announcers made a big deal out of the Patriots only rushing for ten yards in the first half, but the Patriots only ran the ball eight times; the run was schemed out in the first half. As the game moved on and it was clear that the game would go down to the wire, the Patriots shortened the game by pounding the ball effectively against the Dolphins. While the 108 yards gained by the Patriots wasn’t overly impressive, the fact that the Patriots ran the ball when they needed to, against one of the top run defenses, tilts this to the Patriots. Ridley ran for 71 yards on 19 carries, and went over 1,000 yards for the season. Danny Woodhead added 24 yards on 6 carries. Advantage: Patriots

When the Patriots passed:
For as bad a pass defense as the Dolphins have, the Patriots simply could not take control of the game through the air on Sunday. Brady was was not particularly sharp, missing throws while also under regular pressure from the Dolphins’ front seven. Brady was sacked four times but seemingly under pressure all day, as the Dolphins limited Brady to 24/40 for 238 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Wes Welker, the ultimate Dolphin killer, had twelve receptions for 103 yards and a score. Aaron Hernandez added 8 catches for 97 yards, but both Welker and Hernandez dropped balls that should have been caught. Advantage: Dolphins

When the Dolphins ran:
The Dolphins rushed for 101 yards, just seven fewer than the Patriots, but unlike the Patriots could not sustain drives with the run when they needed to. Reggie Bush was routinely stuffed in the second half as the Dolphins’ offense struggled to find any traction. Bush rushed for 64 yards on 16 carries, and both Tannehill and Daniel Thomas rushed five times each for a combined 29 yards. Advantage: Patriots

When the Dolphins passed:
Ryan Tannehill did not look sharp on Sunday, going 13/29 for 186 yards. He was stripped on one sack, though he avoided throwing any interceptions. Tannehill twice missed an open Brian Hartline deep, and was also undone by drops. The Patriots recorded three sacks on the day, two by Trevor Scott, but the pressure sometimes aided Tannehill as he was effective creating plays with his legs. At first blush the Patriots secondary played well, though Tannehill failed to take advantage of the lapses in New England’s coverages. Advantage: Patriots

Special Teams
Ghost missed yet another field goal, his sixth of the season, but connected on three others. His kickoffs resulted in five touchbacks as the Dolphins’ return game was neutralized. Carpenter went 3/3 on field goals, and added three touchbacks. Mesko had a mediocre punting performance, while the game turned in part on the performance of Fields, who was solid in pinning the Patriots deep in their own end twice, but whose early mishandling of a punt turned out to be a key play in the game. Slight edge to the Pats based on that.  Advantage: Patriots

Intangibles
The Patriots showed gutsy determination in putting away a division foe that has historically given them trouble, pounding the ball throughout the fourth quarter to put the game away. For their part, the Dolphins staved off being blown out in the first half, and Ryan Tannehill kept his composure and kept the Dolphins in the context until the end. The turnovers were even, with each team turning the ball over once. Advantage: Even

Key Moment: A Jerod Mayo sack on 3rd and 7 with 8:53 remaining in the game ended a Dolphins’ drive and forced them to settle for a Dan Carpenter field goal.

Game Ball: Wes Welker with 12 receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown

Oct 082012
 

Week Five saw a record setting performance by Drew Brees and the renewal of the Tom Brady – Peyton Manning rivalry, as well as upset wins by the Rams, Colts, and Dolphins. The Bills gave up 45 points to the 49ers on Sunday, meaning their defense has surrendered 97 points in just two games.  On the otjher side of the extreme, no touchdowns were scored in the Ravens-Chiefs battle, while the Seahawks’ defense’ suffocated Cam Newton and the Panthers.

Here are your Week Five Results:

 

Oct 032012
 

It is a breath of fresh air that this week we find ourselves talking about the play on the field, rather than the poor officiating. The early season upsets, for the most part, are starting to wear off as we begin to get a handle on who the power players are that will be fighting for post-season spots. Sure there are some surprises (such as Minnesota and Arizona), but we also have the normal constants in the NFL universe battling for supremacy.

Here are our Week Four Power Rankings:

1. Houston Texans (4-0, +1) – The Texans grab the top spot after a blowout win over the Titans

2. Atlanta Falcons (4-0, -1) – The Falcons slip to #2 after needing a last minute comeback to overcome the Panthers, but Matt Ryan and the Falcons are for real

3. San Francisco 49ers (3-1, +3) – They made the Jets look hideous on Sunday, though to be fair the Jets were already doing a good job of that themselves

4. Baltimore Ravens (3-1, U) – Two close wins over the Patriots and Browns have the Ravens battling the Bengals for control of the AFC North; Flacco not looking elite, but may be looking good enough

5. Arizona Cardinals (4-0, -2) – Yes, they are still undefeated, but they struggled against a poor Dolphins team

6. New England Patriots (2-2, +1) – They won by 24 points and still gave Bill Belichick plenty to scream about this week

7. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1, +4) – The Eagles have scored six touchdowns in four games; this castle is built on sand

8. New York Giants (2-2, -3) – To be honest, Eli did enough to steal a win from the Eagles; he needs to talk to his receivers about hugging cornerbacks downfield

9. Green Bay Packers (2-2, -1) – The Packers defense can thank Garrett Hartley for pulling them out of the fire

10. Chicago Bears (3-1, +3) – What do you know… the good Jay Cutler showed up this week

11. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1, -1) – Dalton, Green, and an improving defense are off to a fast start; could be a two team race with the Ravens

12. Minnesota Vikings (3-1, +7) – Vikes can thank a meltdown by the Lions’ special teams, but the truth is this team looks better than many people thought it would

13. Denver Broncos (2-2, +4) – Manning looks great against the Raiders; will their defense be able to stop the Patriots?

14. San Diego Chargers (3-1, +6) – Rivers looks better, and defense forces six turnovers to help Chargers rebound from blowout loss in Week Three

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2, -1) – Early bye week helps team get healthy in time for the Eagles to invade

16. Dallas Cowboys (2-2, -4) – The Ghost Rat says that the Dallas Cowboys will never win a Super Bowl with Tony Romo at the helm; of course his performance against the Bears doesn’t exactly make this prediction look like a stretch

17. Washington Redskins (2-2, +4) – Redskins look they will play a lot of close games this year; they may or may not make the playoffs but will be the team no one wants to play

18. Seattle Seahawks (2-2, -9) – Similar to the Redskins; an 8-8 bound team that can surprise people

19. St. Louis Rams (2-2, +4) – We don’t think the winning will continue at this pace, but the Rams are no longer at the bottom of the pyramid

20. Buffalo Bills (2-2, -5) – There’s a new book out; “How to go from upstart to roadkill in 30 minutes“, by the Buffalo Bills

21. Detroit Lions (1-3, -3) – They get a bye this week, but the losing may not be over

22. Carolina Panthers (1-3, +4) – A game effort against the Falcons, and Cam seems to be waking his team up; beating the Seahawks would be a good step in the right direction

23. New York Jets (2-2, -7) – Why is Mark Sanchez a starting quarterback in the National Football League? Anyone? Bueller?

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3, -2) – Freeman is playing well, but they need a rushing attack

25. Miami Dolphins (1-3, +3) – They almost pulled off the upset against the Cardinals, but starting Tannehill over Moore dooms this to be another lost year for the Fins

26. Indianapolis Colts (1-2, +5) – We wish you a speedy recovery, Chuck Pagano

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3, -2) – They looked awful against the Bengals; destined to be at the bottom of our rankings this season

28. New Orleans Saints (0-4, +2) – Bad teams find a way to lose games; New Orleans is a bad team

29. Oakland Raiders (1-3, -5) – They just teased us a little with that win over the Steelers…

30. Tennessee Titans (1-3, -3) – Back to Matt Hasselbeck for now, but it won’t matter

31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3. -2) – By all accounts Romeo Crennel is a great person and a good coach; but none of it seems to be helping the hapless Chiefs

32. Cleveland Browns (0-4, U) – When Jimmy Haslam is approved as the new owner later this month, look for the heads to start rolling quickly

Sep 092012
 

Week One provided its share of predictable outcomes and upsets, and it also proved that the NFL is in dire need of bringing back the locked out officials. While Wednesday night was a great night for the replacement officials (presumably because the NFL grabbed the ‘best’ of the replacements, the rest of the first week was not as kind. Particularly disastrous was the San Francisco at Green Bay game, where both teams had cause to be upset with poor officiating. otherwise, Sunday saw some strange officiating misfires, including several in the Sunday night showcase in Denver. Anyone (including the Commissioner and league owners) who says the officiating is just as good (or even close) was watching this weekend’s slate of games with their eyes closed.

Here’s your re-cap of the Week One games:

Still to Come:

San Diego-Oakland

 

Aug 242012
 

Can you feel it? It’s getting closer. The start of the 2012 NFL season is a mere twelve days away (as of 8/24) and the pre-season results keep rolling in. Some teams are looking a little more ready for the regular season than others, but it’s all speculation until the Cowboys kick off against the Giants on September 5th.

Here is a re-cap of the games this week: